What is the Arab oil embargo? | News, Sports, Jobs



Forty-nine years ago, this week, on October 19, 1973, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) imposed an oil embargo against the United States. This was in retaliation for the US decision to send military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War between the Arab nations and Israel. The United States, once the world’s largest oil producer during World War II, had become increasingly dependent on imported oil and imported 30% of its needs. US oil production peaked in the early 1970s.

The immediate result of the embargo was an increase in oil prices from $3 to $11 per barrel and eventually to $19 per barrel. Gasoline was suddenly scarce. Prices soared to over $0.50 a gallon. Big problem then. People lined up to buy gasoline. Where I lived in Pittsburgh, the last number on your license plate, even or odd, determined the days you could buy gas. We thought paying $0.50 a gallon was terrible. The worst thing for me was not being able to buy gas and travel whenever I wanted.

The Arab oil embargo drastically changed my life and my career plans. I was an agricultural engineering student at WVU. The summer of my freshman year, I worked as an intern for the US Soil Conservation Service. My career plan was to work as an engineer for the West Virginia Soil Conservation Service after I graduated. Soaring energy prices due to the Arab oil embargo caused a recession. The recession led to a hiring freeze by the federal government. I had to find an alternative career plan.

A company named Halliburton was interviewing engineers on the WVU campus. They normally hired petroleum engineers, but they were so desperate that it didn’t matter what kind of engineer you were. An engineering degree and the willingness to work long hours were all they needed. They hired me. My first posting was Albion, Michigan. The hours were long but I had nothing else to do.

My training required me to learn to drive a tractor-trailer and work with cement and fracking crews in the field at well sites. It was the start of a fun, challenging and rewarding 40+ year career.

I believe that God works in ways that we don’t always understand. I met my wife, Lynnda in Michigan. What a blessing! When I moved to Michigan, all my material possessions fit in the back of a Plymouth Duster. Seven years later, I left Michigan in a semi-trailer moving truck with a wife and three children. The Arab oil embargo gave me a family and a career. I retired from the industry in 2016 and found an even more rewarding career working with Shale Crescent USA to bring jobs back to this region. The Arab oil embargo changed my life for the better. The United States was not so lucky.

The end of the Arab oil embargo was negotiated in 1974. The United States realized that it was vulnerable to disruptions in oil supplies over which it had no control. It was also the beginning of the Rust Belt in our region. OPEC controlled energy prices. OPEC oil ministers met and set production levels for each country. Oil production levels determine world oil prices and what we pay at the pump for gasoline.

Our region has lost its energy advantage. The workforce here was higher than most places. Companies left the Ohio Valley and other parts of our region for the US Gulf Coast and Asia where labor was cheaper.

US oil and gas production and reserves have continued to decline for more than 30 years. We imported more oil for transportation fuel and petrochemical feedstock.

We had an energy crisis in the 1990s and early 2000s. The threat of war in the Middle East raised gas prices almost overnight because much of the US oil and worldwide came from the Middle East.

The advent of modern horizontal drilling launched the shale revolution in the United States. Wells can now be drilled thousands of feet horizontally and still remain in the productive part of the reservoir. Marcellus and Utica are two of only three mega-giant natural gas fields in the world. The other is in the Middle East. Horizontal drilling has enabled the development of large oil fields in West Texas and the Dakotas. The United States regained its position as the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer. If Shale Crescent USA were a country, it would be the third largest producer of natural gas in the world behind the rest of the United States and Russia. Our region produces almost twice as much natural gas as the entire Chinese nation. We don’t need OPEC oil.

The United States can produce enough oil and natural gas to drive down gasoline prices for every American. Energy prices impact everything we buy.

We can stop inflation.

The US oil and gas industry suffers from a lack of capital and government restrictions. Why ask Saudi Arabia or another OPEC country to increase oil production without first asking American oil companies to increase production?

Any environmentally conscious American leader would never consider buying oil from countries with little or no environmental regulations and then having it shipped thousands of miles from the Middle East to the United States on a scorching tanker. dirty bunker fuel causing SOx, NOx and CO2 emissions.

The 1973 Arab oil embargo changed our country and the lives of many people. We were powerless to prevent it at the time. Today’s high oil and natural gas prices and the inflation they cause can be avoided. Government leaders should work with the U.S. oil and gas industry to encourage increases in U.S. production that will lower prices to consumers and encourage more U.S. manufacturing. Well-paying jobs will be created and lower global emissions will result as consumers buy fewer products from places like China.

Greg Kozera, [email protected], is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA, www.shalecrescentusa.com. He is a professional engineer with a master’s degree in environmental engineering and over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. He is a professional speaker and author of four books and numerous published articles.



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